Post Classifieds

Apathy Goes to College

By John Kleinhans
On February 9, 2012

I believe Lyndon suffers from a severe case of apathy. Apathy is defined as a lack of feeling, emotion, interest or concern.

On February 7, over 300 students gathered at the Vermont State House to advocate for increased funding for the Vermont State Colleges. That morning, a bus left Lyndon and headed for Montpelier with only 15 LSC students aboard. That's barely one out of every 100 students at this college. Last year, with just a week of planning, 75 students from Lyndon traveled to Montpelier. Why was there such a dramatic decrease in numbers? The answer is simple: students only care when the issue is too late to fix.

Last year, we faced a series of budget crises. When the college was faced with the need to fire a faculty member in the name of insuring the financial future of the college, students immediately came together as a collective group to voice opposition, but in the end, were too late to really make an impact.

This past Tuesday, you had a chance to be heard by a number of legislators, policy makers and the Governor but instead you decided to stay home. Last week, I told you that you would be better off wasting away watching Jersey Shore or tweeting about how sick that party was. I guess you really didn't think that you could make a difference and that policy makers would just consider you uneducated and unable to hold adult conversations.

Ask any student who had the confidence to come on Tuesday how they felt when they were able to engage state legislators from across Vermont. Talk to them about the real results they had. I am so proud of those students and so incredibly disappointed in students who decided not to care or professors who didn't encourage their students to take part.

In the end when you are paying back tens of thousands of dollars worth of loans and debt, just think of what one day in Montpelier could have done. When you go to tour colleges with your future children and the costs are so ridiculous that you won't be able to send them to college, just think of what one day in Montpelier could have done.

I am not done with this battle; I have just started. There is still time to make a difference in our community and at the state house and together we will be able to turn the state in the direction in which we would like it to go. Open up your eyes and realize that the world is far bigger than your 1:30 class every Tuesday and Thursday. You can truly make a difference and as a united front we can make one hell of a difference.

On February 2, as the student trustee who represents every student in the VSC, I stood up and voted no for an eight percent tuition increase over two years. I called for the State of Vermont to live up to its 1961 pledge to pay all or a substantial part of the costs for the VSC. They currently fund us at just 18 percent. I issued a statement to the Board of Trustees that hundreds of students from all over the system would attend a rally in support of this message and that we would make a difference. I was half correct on this statement. The only problem was that Lyndon State College, my home institution, seemed not to care about this fight.

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